As MakeMyTrip and Goibibo continue to take lead in the Indian online travel segment, their closest rival Yatra, is now looking at a merger, which would get the company listed on NASDAQ. According to reports coming from various quarters, Terrapin 3 Acquisition Corp (TRTL) — a special purpose acquisition firm, is now buying Yatra.com at a valuation of $218 million to form a combined entity.
Also, if Yatra achieves certain financial objectives within 18 months after closing this deal, it may receive additional consideration of up to $35 million.
Post the completion of this deal, Yatra intends to be listed on NASDAQ — joining its Indian competitior MakeMytrip — under the symbol “YTRA”. The combined entity will continue to be led by Yatra’s management team under the leadership of its chief executive and co-founder Dhruv Shringi.
As per the terms of the proposed transaction, it is estimated that the current shareholders of Yatra will continue to own around 35% of the issued and outstanding shares in the combined company. However, cash payments to the current shareholders of Yatra will be capped at $80 million.
The first $100 million of cash will be allocated entirely to the combined company’s balance sheet and will help pay for the transaction expenses.
Commenting about this development, Dhruv Shringi, said,
We are excited to partner with TRTL in a transaction that we believe will enable Yatra to continue its growth as a new public company. This transaction gives us substantial additional resources to support our growth and the continued improvement of our integrated online and mobile platforms.
We look forward to expanding our already extensive network of domestic and international partnerships with hotels, airlines, car services and tour package promoters, as well as further strengthening our brand presence and technology platform.
Launched in August 2006 by Dhruv Shringi, Sabina Chopra, and Manish Amin, Yatra.com was one of the early online travel portals within India with more than 4 million customers. The company however, has been facing stiff competition from the likes of NASDAQ listed MakeMyTrip and Goibibo.
Numbers however, are not all that bad for Yatra. During the financial year that ended in March 2016, Yatra witnessed booking of more than 2.8 million air travel reservations and hotel stays with a total transaction value worth more than $900 million. This signifies a 25 percent increase from the prior year. Also, the company notes that 74% transactions were repeat clients.
Till now, the company had raised more than $121 million in six funding rounds. It is backed by marquee investors, including IDG Ventures India, Vertex Ventures, Valiant Capital Partners, Brand Capital, Intel Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, among others. It has also recently acquired and added three companies – MagicRooms, TravelGuru, and mGaadi – to its portfolio.
Nathan Leight, chairman of the board of TRTL, said,
We created TRTL with the express purpose of partnering with a company that would benefit from a public listing, could utilize our cash resources for growth and generate long-term returns for our shareholders. Yatra has the broadest brand recognition of any online travel agent in India.